Bird EXTINCTION warning: Bald eagles near-brink as 1 in 4 American fowls gone

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Bird EXTINCTION warning: Bald eagles near-brink as 1 in 4 American fowls gone

According to a study, the bald eagle population is dropping due to lead poisoning. After recovering from near-extinction, Cornell University scient

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According to a study, the bald eagle population is dropping due to lead poisoning. After recovering from near-extinction, Cornell University scientists fear the latest issue has the potential to bring them back to the brink.

The researchers said bald eagle population growth in the Northeast is decreasing by up to six percent.

This is believed to be due to the birds eating gunshot ammunition in organs of other animals left on site after being shot by hunters.

Krysten Schuler, assistant research professor in the Department of Public and Ecosystem Health at Cornell University and senior author on the study, said the issue could cause the bald eagle population to plummet back to feared extinction levels.

She said: “Even though the population seems like it’s recovered, some perturbation could come along that could cause eagles to decline again.”

Bald eagles – which have been the national bird of the United States since 1782 – were declared endangered by the federal government in 1978.

After a slow recovery, they were removed from the list in 2007. In 2021, it emerged the population of the fabled predator had quadrupled over a 12-year period, according to a recent survey by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which was reviewed by Cornell University.

There are now more than 316,000 bald eagles in the continental US, including over 70,000 nesting pairs.

The figure is more than four times the 72,434 individuals and 30,548 pairs recorded in 2009, and over seven times as many than there were in 2007.

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In addition, the team added owls, crows and coyotes are also eating the tainted meat and are contracting lead poisoning.

Ms Schuler said: “We haven’t collected data on these other species in the same way that we pay attention to eagles.

“We’re putting eagles out there as a poster species for this issue, but they’re not the only ones being impacted.”

A separate study from 2021 found bald eagles are also being threatened by poison used to eradicate rats.

More than 80 percent of dead bald and golden eagles examined between 2014 and 2018 were found to have rodenticide in their system.

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In 2019, researchers in the US estimated the volume of total avian loss in the Western Hemisphere, and believe a shocking one in four birds have disappeared.

The study, led by Ken Rosenberg, Cornell Lab of Ornithology conservation scientist, estimated North America is home to nearly three billion fewer birds today compared to 1970.

The team analysed the breeding population of 529 species by pooling data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey, Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count, US Fish and Wildlife Service waterfowl surveys, and 10 other datasets.

They also analysed more recent data collected by weather radar technology that can track large groups of birds as they migrate to estimate their numbers.

Weather radars indicated a 14 percent decrease in nocturnal spring-migrating birds in the last decade alone.

Using models that incorporated all the data, they estimated the net number of birds lost over time, across various habitats and bird groupings.

According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ (RSPB) state of the UK’s birds report (SUKB) in 2020, there are 83 million pairs of native breeding birds in the UK.

This report noted the figure is 19 million pairs fewer since widespread monitoring began in the late 1960s.

This figure is similar to that presented in the 2012 SUKB report, based on the previous Avian Population Estimates Panel (APEP) documentation, which held in terms of total breeding bird numbers, the period of relative stability that began in the 1990s is continuing.

Despite significant conservation successes, around a third of all albatross and petrel species found in the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are at risk of global extinction due to fisheries bycatch and predation by introduced mammalian predators such as mice.



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